June 21, 2018

Is your life a constant audition?

“I was so happy with how Freaks and Geeks came out, that in my head I thought 'my career is basically over.' I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish, and everything else is gravy.
And so nothing else matters. I can experiment. I can do anything. Because I did what I wanted to do, perfectly, once.”  ~ Judd Apatow

How many of us can say we've done something perfectly, once? Probably a lot of us! Even if it was something seemingly minor, like nailing that Julia Child recipe or running your best ever 5K. (Technically, I'm all about "ditching perfection," because trying to be perfect is usually a futile exercise. But sometimes we do achieve the goal we set out for ourselves, and sometimes it really does feel perfect!)

But oftentimes we don't acknowledge it or celebrate it. Instead, we keep trying to top it, to beat the record, to beat ourselves in our own internal competition—or sometimes external competition.

There's nothing wrong with building on our achievements, setting bigger or more daring goals, or seeking a level of success or mastery that feels way beyond our current abilities.

But what if we took the time and made the mental space for acknowledging our current or previous successes? What if we didn't feel constantly driven to achieve someone else's definition of "success?" What if we stopped comparing our wins to others' wins and minimizing ours because they don't "measure up?"

Judd Apatow could have been a "one-hit wonder" with Freaks and Geeks. Because of his success with the show, he no longer felt the need to impress people with his brilliance, but rather felt free to experiment and—implied in his quote—fail!

In a blog post a few years ago, I shared a quote from Barbara Walters, referencing the title of her autobiography, Audition:
"As a child, I felt that I didn't belong — I was auditioning. I kept going to different schools — I was auditioning. Most of my professional life, I've been auditioning. I think for a lot of us, life is an audition."
The thought that some people can never relax, can never enjoy their successes, and continue to audition every day of their lives makes me so sad.

Here's a thought: What if you've already got the part? What if you're already in the perfect role and you're already playing your part perfectly?

Could you give yourself a break? Could you enjoy the freedom of experimenting and even failing sometimes?

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